When someone is injured due a neglectful, reckless, or criminal act, they will be given the opportunity to file a claim for compensation and damages through Arizona’s personal injury laws. If the wounds suffered in the accident or event are so grievous that they cause the individual’s death, certain surviving family members will be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit instead. Wrongful death lawsuits can, therefore, be seen as governed by the same requirements as a personal injury claim in many cases, only the plaintiff is no longer around to file the claim himself or herself.
People who can file a wrongful death lawsuit include the decedent’s:
- Parent or guardian
- Personal representative for deceased family members
- Chosen representative for estate
After someone passes away due to the negligence of another, usually only one wrongful death lawsuit can be filed. Within that one lawsuit, though, multiple parties can be named as recipients of any damages ultimately collected. This is to say that a surviving spouse, child, parent, etc. cannot all file claims for a single person’s death.
What Damages Can Be Pursued?
In a wrongful death claim, there are two types of damages that can be collected:
- Estate: Financial costs and damages that impact the decedent’s estate can be listed in a wrongful death claim. This type of damage includes prices paid for a funeral and a burial, as well as the final cost of medical care the decedent received due to the accident or incident. Other financial impacts that can be cited include the loss of wages that the decedent would have reasonably earned throughout his or her lifetime, property repair or replacement stemming from the accident, and emotional trauma experienced by the decedent.
- Family impact: How the family members of the decedent are impacted will determine which damages in a wrongful death lawsuit are permitted. Close family members named in the claim may be able to collect financial compensation for the lost value of work, care, and guidance the decedent regularly completed or provided throughout the home or for the family. The emotional scarring suffered by surviving family members can also be cited in a wrongful death claim.
How Compensation is Distributed
If multiple people are named in a wrongful death claim that is successful, how the collected compensation is distributed is up to those people. This decision could potentially lead to some controversy or conflict if someone believes they are not getting the percentage they are owed. If no final agreement can be made among the parties, the court will create a legally binding decision instead. This is not ideal so it is greatly encouraged that parties and family members do their best to come to a fair decision on their own.
How to File a Wrongful Death Claim
The last thing you should know is that a two-year statute of limitations in Arizona affects wrongful death claims. You have 24 months to create a claim from the day your loved one passes away; any claim made after the statute expires will be thrown out by the court and any chance of collecting compensation will be gone.
To create your claim with confidence, work with Browne Law Group and our Gilbert wrongful death attorney. We take a truly compassionate approach to such sensitive cases. We know that no amount of money can replace the loved one you have lost to the negligence of another, but we also understand that knowing that your bills will be covered can help provide the peace of mind you so very much deserve. Contact our firm at any time to schedule a free consultation to learn more without paying anything upfront – we are available 24/7.